The inspiration for this post came at a woman’s networking event I attended. One woman was giving her 30-second introduction and listed several survival tools that women over 50 need to make it through the next few decades. I can’t recall all of them, because I didn’t take notes, but remembered a few and added a couple of my own. As soon as I find out her name I will credit her.
7 survival tools every woman over 50 needs to get through the next few decades
If we’re lucky, LOL
1. Your own bank account
When I was married, my husband and I had a joint bank account, but I also had a credit union account of my own. I used it to finance my acting career and occasionally buy myself something I wanted. My husband never had a checkbook or flew in a plane before we met. Go figure? He always paid bills with cash or a money order. (apparently, that was a Polish American custom) I had to teach him how to balance our checkbook, which is ironic, because, to this day, I still count on my fingers. My dad was a math genius and taught me how. I ended up managing our joint account but never enjoyed ‘splaining the purchases I made.
The real reason women should have their own bank account is that “shit” happens. Your husband may run off with a 20-year old, gamble away your nest egg, or make you feel guilty every time you spend a dime. Your own account will give you independence and security just in case.
2. Three months of cash saved for emergencies
This is something I haven’t been successful with yet. I live in Los Angeles, which is an amazing city that I absolutely love, but it’s insanely expensive. Sometimes I think I should grab my dog, move to Mexico, and go live on a beach somewhere. No matter how I try, I always end up using the money I make for something like getting my dog’s teeth cleaned, fixing my car, or paying the IRS (because I work freelance).
One thing I recently did was sign up for an online bank account. I didn’t order checks and put my ATM card into a drawer. (Knowing me, I should lock it up in a safe deposit box.) Every time I get paid, I transfer a small portion of my income (10 – 15%) into that account for emergencies or a quick escape.
3. A source of passive income
If you are over 50, you’ve probably spent decades working and/or taking care of your family. Retirement accounts (if you’re lucky enough to have one) are volatile. The economy may be doing well temporarily, but things can change in an instant. It’s always good to do a 401k checkup and diversify your portfolio. (Again, if you’re lucky to have a portfolio) You may even want to dabble in the stock market, albeit cautiously.
Passive income is when you earn money while you sleep. It may come in small increments at first, but the goal is to have it grow over time. You can earn passive income in a variety of ways, but the important thing, especially as you get older, is not to spend lots of money to make that happen. Beware of “get rich quick” passive income schemes that prey on the Baby Boomer demographic.
I switched from direct sales (which promised passive income) to blogging and affiliate income (adding links to products I love), because there is very little overhead other than setting up and maintaining my website. When I was in direct sales, I had to pay for inventory, conferences, and team meetings. Even though I was successful and became a sales director, I put out way more money than I took in.
4. An organized way to get your affairs in order
It’s important to have a system in place in the event that you suddenly croak, even though most of us hate thinking about it. Let’s face it, ladies, most Baby Boomers are 60+. We may have 40+ years left on Earth, but you just never know. My friend Karen O’Neil created a workbook called A Guide to Getting Affairs in Order.
Inside, you can write down all the information your loved ones need to know to find your important documents, passwords, financial information, final wishes, etc. It’s not an estate or medical plan, which you also need, but rather a directory that makes it easier for your loved ones to deal with final arrangements. I think it’s clever and a necessary survival tool to have.
5. A passion project
Partners come and go, either through a breakup or death. Often women compromise using their talents and the ability to achieve their full potential as a way to please their partner. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do, give yourself the time to at least explore the possibilities. This may require further education or simply giving yourself the space to do it.
6. A well cared for body and mind
It’s easy to put ourselves last when it comes to caring for our own health. As part of the sandwich generation, we may still be taking care of children, spouses, and parents and neglect our own needs. Schedule regular doctor checkups and time for self-care. Go to a spa if that’s what you enjoy and carve out time for exercise to stay fit and flexible. Focus on eating “real” nutritious food to prevent chronic illnesses or other health issues. You can’t help others if you are a mess yourself.
7. A fabulous black bra
OK, this was a suggestion from that brilliant woman I mentioned at the top of this post. Just because we’re over 50 doesn’t mean we aren’t still sexy. I’d like to amend that idea to a fabulous “wireless” bra because I can’t stand bones sticking into my muffin top, even though the “girls” are heading south. I wear a black sports bra most of the time. My mom, eventually, did away with her bra altogether and I can understand why.
I’d also like to add owning panties that don’t fall off. Mine tend to slip down when I walk. I guess my butt is flattening as I get older.
Here’s something we all need. It’s a device that gently gets rid of chin hairs called Flawless and you can use it every day! I adore mine!
What are some of your survival tools for women over 50? Please leave a comment below and share this post.